Too small to justify their own blog post but maybe just as useful: This page gathers a few smaller projects and tricks I came across.

ESP8266 Programmer

For the software side of some ESP8266 development, I bought a cheap ESP01 to USB adapter from AliExpress, expecting a programming adapter. What turned up on my doorstep, however, was just a USB-UART adapter which wasn’t able to drive the reset and GPIO0 pins. Luckily, the missing circuitry could be added easily.

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Using Desoldering Braid Bobbins for Bodge Wires

Don’t throw spent desoldering braid spools away! The bobbins are great for hand wiring prototypes and doing PCB repairs. They have the perfect size, and unlike a regular spool, the magnet wire won’t uncoil itself all the time.

Breadboard Test Points

Take a piece of wire, solder one end into a loop and the other one onto a header pin and you’ve got a very useful test point for breadboarding. A piece of shrink tubing shrunk only on one end nicely insulates connected probe hooks and an extra shrink tubing ring around the breadboard end keeps this cover from sliding off.

Pb Powerbank

In preparation for being off-grid for a few days, I quickly built this ‘power bank’ around a 12 V 7 Ah lead gel battery. The circuit is simply pushed onto the battery’s 6.3 mm contacts and provides 3 USB ports. Charging circuitry is not included but the battery terminals are still accessible anyway.

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Quick and Dirty B–H Plots

While building solenoids, I needed a way to quickly judge the magnetic properties of some unknown steel. A simple analogue hall sensor IC works together with a controlled current source for the coil to drive a XY plotter (or oscilloscope in XY mode) and create simple B–H plots.

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